One year ago today, I got on a train, got in a cab, and found myself here.
The steps of my own apartment in the middle of the city I never really thought I'd get to live in, let alone at 22, the craziest, biggest, loudest city in America.
And so began the biggest adventure of my life.
The biggest, and the hardest.
The past year in New York has been harder, more overwhelming, and crazier than I ever could have prepared myself for. But it's also been way better.
Let's recap, shall we?
I thought living with Holly would be a nightmare. Turns out, having her here has been a huge blessing. And our relationship has improved so much. I feel like finally (FINALLY!) we're not just sisters, we're friends, too. Friends who really like each other, who confide in each other, who like spending time together. We finally have the relationship I so desperately wanted growing up.
I immediately found a church who became family to me and helped carry me through this year. I'd have been so lost without them. I made friends who have prayed for me and with me and made me feel not alone in this huge and often lonely city.
I got my first experience of living with someone other than my sisters. It's been trying and exhausting and frustrating, but lately we've come to realize that even though we get on each other's nerves, we love each other, and we have each other's back. And that's what is important, not petty fights.
Grad school classes are the first real difficult education I've had in my life. They've stressed me out beyond all imagination, but it's also helped me come a long way in accepting that I'm doing my best, even if my grades aren't as high as they could be and they have been in the past. I've found myself chilling out a lot more and not panicking about my grades. I kind of had to, with all of the medical stuff that's been going on.
Speaking of that...a shoulder injury that lasted two and a half months before I had the surgery and then a month of recovery after, on my good arm, no less. Which makes doing classwork pretty dang difficult. An awful Prednisone reaction that left me in excruciating pain all over for weeks, barely able to move. A fractured ankle. A messed up wrist. And seizures. SO MANY SEIZURES. A lot of the time, I've been in survival mode, so my grades couldn't be my top priority, as much as I wish I could've pulled it all off.
There were many times when I missed my mom more than I ever expected I would before I came up here. But what was even harder was going from having all of my best friends within a five-minute walking distance of me to being hundreds of miles away from them. The people who filled my senior year with memories I hope I never forget could no longer be with me physically. I realized pretty early on that as happy as I was (am) to be here, my heart was split in two places, and that's an awful feeling. But at the same time, I learned what amazing friends I have, because I saw the friendships that meant the most to me surpass time and distance. Clayton, Austin, my soccer boys, even as far apart as we are, I have felt them cheering me on every step of the way. And that has meant more than they know. It's meant the world to me.
I finally got myself out from under Landon's spell. As luck would have it, moving 600 miles away is pretty helpful in getting out of an abusive relationship.
I've found more self-confidence in being myself when going out with Holly. Two guys have asked me for my number, which is something that has never happened before for me. (Granted, they went nowhere, but still, progress.)
I got to meet some of my favorite dancers from Dancing with the Stars. Bucket list moment? CHECK!
And Spiegel. Oh, my dear Spiegel family. My escape from the world, and the apartment. Sure, their food is amazing, but I keep going back there because the crew there has become my family in a way I never expected them to. They have taken care of me more times than I count. They have made me smile and laugh on bad days. They have let me hang out even when I had no money to eat just because I needed somewhere to be outside of my room. I feel at peace and at home as soon as I walk in, and that is a gift.
It's been a crazy amazing year. Sometimes it still feels surreal that I actually get to live here.
I'm excited and nervous and anxious to see what my life will look like a year from now. Guess there's only one way to find out...
On to year 2! Here we go!